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Content provided by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
10.914 Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program  

FEDERAL AGENCY:

NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

AUTHORIZATION:

Federal Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127; 16 U.S.C. 3830 et. seq.
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This program was created to develop upland wildlife habitat, wetland wildlife habitat, threatened and endangered species habitat, fish habitat and other types of wildlife habitat.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE:

Direct Payments for Specified Use.
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USES AND USE RESTRICTIONS:

Technical assistance is provided to develop a Wildlife Habitat Development Plan for eligible participants. Cost-share payments may be made to implement wildlife habitat practices. Up to seventy-five percent cost-share is available from NRCS to reimburse participants for installing practices beneficial to wildlife.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Applicant Eligibility:   A participant may be an owner, landlord, operator, or tenant of eligible lands. Limited resource producers, small scale producers, producers of minority groups, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility:   A participant may be an owner, landlord, operator, or tenant of eligible lands. Limited resource producers, small-scale producers, producers of minority groups, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.

Credentials/Documentation:   Evidence that applicant has control over land to be entered into contract and submits an acceptable Wildlife Habitat Development Plan for the land unit of concern that incorporates needed wildlife habitat practices. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

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APPLICATION AND AWARD PROCESS:
Pre-application Coordination:   None. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure:   Program participation is voluntary. The applicant applies at the local USDA service center on Form NRCS-LPT-1. Applications may be filed at any time during the year. The participant, With the Natural Resources Conservation Service develops a Wildlife Habitat Development Plan for the land unit of concern. The participant's plan serves as the basis for the WHIP cost-share agreement. Technical assistance, and cost-share payments may be provided to apply the needed wildlife habitat practices within a time schedule specified by the plan. A participant may apply one or more wildlife habitat practices in a cost-share agreement.

Award Procedure:   NRCS may designate a wildlife habitat type or a region of special wildlife habitat concern as a priority. The priorities are designated by the State Conservationist based on recommendations of local work groups which are convened by the local conservation district and in consultation with the State Technical Committee. NRCS will give special consideration to applicants who have Wildlife Habitat Development Plans that address wildlife habitat concerns consistent with state priorities. Applications will be ranked and selected for funding.

Deadlines:   None.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:   None.

Appeals:   A participant may appeal any adverse determination to NRCS.

Renewals:   Not applicable.

ASSISTANCE CONSIDERATIONS:

Formula and Matching Requirements:   Installation of cost-share practices to develop wildlife habitat can be funded by cost-sharing up to 75 percent of the total cost of establishing the practice by NRCS. Program participants or nonfederal partners provide the remaining 25 percent. Other practices may be required to be installed without program payments.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:   The WHIP cost-share agreement period is a minimum of 5 to 10 years. Agreements of shorter duration are permitted under limited wildlife emergency circumstances. Obligations for assistance are tied to the schedule for applying wildlife habitat practices included in the Wildlife Habitat Development Plan used as the basis for contract. Payments are made when the participant and NRCS certify that a conservation practice is completed in accordance with the cost-share agreement.

POST ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Reports:   No reports. NRCS and the participant conduct an annual status review during the length of the cost-share agreement that includes maintenance of completed contract items and need for deletion or addition of cost-share agreement items.

Audits:   NRCS makes periodic random reviews of the operation and maintenance of the cost-share agreement items during the life span of the conservation practice. Participants are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Records:   Maintained in the NRCS state office and Federal records centers for specified number of years.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION:

Account Identification:   12-3322-0-1-302.

Obligations:   (Cost-Share Agreements) FY 01 $12,702,038; FY 02 est $849,164; and FY 03 est $0. (Salaries and Expenses) FY 01 $2,374,990; FY 02 est $38,331; and FY 03 est $0.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:   Average contract payments are estimated to be $4,500.

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PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
States began implementing WHIP in fiscal year 1998. Over 1.4 million acres are enrolled in the program. The average agreement encompassed 165 acres. Of all acres enrolled, 89 percent are designed for upland habitat, 12 percent for wetland habitat, 3 percent were riparian habitat, and nearly 1 percent in-stream aquatic habitat. It is estimated that approximately 15 percent of the total acreage enrolled in WHIP will benefit threatened and endangered species.

REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND LITERATURE:

7 CFR Part 636. Program is announced through news media and in announcements to agricultural producers, farm and ranch owners and operators in the county. Program manuals, handbooks, and leaflets issued by NRCS and FSA.

INFORMATION CONTACTS:

Regional or Local Office:  
See Regional Agency Offices. For more information on this and other related conservation programs, consult the local telephone directory where your land is located for location of the USDA service center. NRCS, FSA, and many local conservation districts are located in USDA service centers. For a list of NRCS State Office telephone numbers and addresses, see Appendix IV of the Catalog or visit the NRCS National Website at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

Headquarters Office:  
Mark Rose Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, P.O. Box 2890, Attn: Director, Financial Assistance Programs Division , Washington, District of Columbia 20113 Email: Mark.Rose@wdc.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-1844

Web Site Address:  
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/

EXAMPLES OF FUNDED PROJECTS:

Restoring native grasslands; improving aquatic habitat with obstruction removal, fish passages and streambank stabilization; estuarine habitat improvement; cave closures for bat habitat; native tree planting; invasive plant control.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING PROPOSALS:

Applications will be ranked and selected for funding based on: The wildlife habitat benefits derived and the extent the cost-share agreement will assist in achieving the wildlife habitat priority goals and objectives in the area the land unit is located.

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